Posts Tagged ‘winter’

A little somethin’ sweet…Sweet Cherry Pie!

Hello all!  Let me first apologize to you for not being the wonderful and talented Vieshnavi, and then I will introduce myself: I am sorry for the lack of Vieshnavi around these parts of late, and I am her friend, Karen.  As a fellow vegetarian and former roommate of Vieshnavi, we’ve been on many veggie adventures together (what?! Panera?! You betrayed us! Why is your broccoli cheddar soup *not* vegetarian?!), have had many fine cooking experiments together (“Do you like this?” “Yeah.” “Let’s stir fry it.” “Wait…can you do that?!” “Why not….?”), and have oft lamented the lack of real vegetarian food out there.  To the world out there: we don’t just eat lettuce!

Sometimes, we eat pie.

Which is the subject of this guest-blog, which Vieshnavi has so kindly allowed me to write.  Pie is pretty much one of the most excellent foods on the planet.  You can put almost anything into a pastry, bake it for a bit, and call it pie.  According to a history of pie website out there, this dates back to the ancient Egyptians but really only came into its own when the British got hold of the idea and, in true British fashion, decided to be the absolute very best at it.  Which they were, at least until the United States declared independence and took their pie with them.  (To paraphrase the New Hampshire state motto: “Live free for pie!”)  Apple pie is probably the most popular, as it is cheap and easy to make.  Having grown up in New England, apple pie is a delicacy most decidedly not served at 4th of July celebrations, as apples are out of season and who wants old apples in their pie, but that has not stopped the rest of the country from believing it’s summery and perfect for the most American of American holidays.  We tend to serve blueberry pie for that occasion, as that fruit is in season.  Anyway, let’s move on.  There’s a recipe here, I promise.

So now that I have made you want summer and pie (apple or blueberry or what-have-you), let me remind you that it is winter and there aren’t too many winter-specific pies out there.  Though pumpkin and sweet potato are definitely in fine form this time of year.  However, there are traditional winter pies whose ingredients have nothing to do with what’s in season and a lot to do with being delicious and sweet and warming up from the winter chill!  One of these is cherry pie, which is traditionally served in honor of George Washington’s birthday in February.  This post is a bit early for that, but it’s delicious nonetheless.  And if you start now, you can perfect your pie-making technique just in time for the first big pie-centric holiday of the year.

I bet you never had a reason to get excited about Washington’s birthday before now.  😉

Sweet Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

– pie pastry, enough for to be rolled out to line the bottom of an 8″ pie dish and to cover the top

– 4 cups fresh or canned sweet cherries (“Bing” cherries are pretty common, if you’re in the US).  If you are using fresh cherries (which I highly recommend), you’ll need to pit them.  More on that later.

– 1/4 cup of sugar

– 2 1/2 tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca (Picture of it here.  It’s not pudding.  You will, however, find it in the baking section near the pudding.)

– 2 teaspoons of butter

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.

2. Line a pie pan with 1/2 of the pastry dough.  If you’re cramming and need to make pie fast, or if you just don’t particularly feel like making pastry dough, kneading it, rolling it out, and trying not to break it, I recommend grabbing the premade frozen variety.  Pillsbury makes an especially delicious variety.

3. Drain the canned cherries, saving 1/2 the juice.  If you’re using natural cherries, don’t worry about all that.  You get to worry about pitting them, which I am pretty sure they make a tool for.  However, I do not own this tool and I don’t know anyone who does (unless they received it as a gift or really like olives), and I do not have the patience to take a paring knife to every little cherry and squeeze the pits out of the halved fruit.  I prefer the more organic method of squeezing the cherry until the pit shoots out.  My father taught me that.  It’s a lot of fun and well-worth looking Dexter on a bad day when you’re done.

4. Mix the juice (if you’re a canned cherry person), sugar, and tapioca in a bowl.  Add the cherries.  Toss well.

5. Pile the mixture into the lined pie pan and dot with it with the butter, by which I mean make very tiny slices of butter and put them on top.

6. Roll out the top crust and drape it over the pie (you can get fancy here and make a lattice if you’d like).  Crimp the edges and put several holes in the top, or use a pie bird (ceramic hollow bird that you put in the center of the pie before you put the filling in; lets out the steam).

7. Bake at 425 F for only 10 minutes!  After 10 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 350 F, and continue baking for another 30-40 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.

Easy as pie. 😉  I like this pie warm or cool, and my mother likes it only warm.  It’s delicious both ways, but begins to firm up after it has cooled down.  It’s quite delicious, not too sweet, and the perfect reminder of summer during the cold winter months.

Oh, and George Washington’s honesty.

Tell me what you think!  Fan of cherry pie?  Fan of pie in general?  Have a great pie story or an awesome recipe or know the best place to get the best piece of pie served up?  Let us know!

Advertisements

Basil, Oregano, & Garlic: Flavors of My Winter “Pasta Primavera”

primavera

After eating one too many meals out this week, I spent the entire BU vs. UNH Men’s Ice Hockey game Saturday night (-we won, 4-2!) getting progressively hungrier and wondering about what I could make for dinner. The contents of my fridge really need to be emptied before I skip town for Thanksgiving. I thought about what I had – zucchinis, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic… Combining those ingredients with the Italian herbs I had in my spice cabinet, I put together my take on a pasta primavera … in the winter. (For those of you who don’t know, “primavera” means “spring” in Italian.)

Wintertime Pasta “Primavera”

  • 1 cup large shell pasta
  • Barilla Roasted Garlic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped in long thin strips
  • 1 Zucchini, chopped in semicircles (width – a little thinner than a centimeter)
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped in thin semicircles
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • Fresh Basil, garnish, optional
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Garlic Salt
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan until it is al-dente.
  2. Once the water for the pasta is boiling, cut the vegetables.
  3. Heat oil on a flat pan – enough for all of the vegetables – 3-4 tbsp, more if needed, then lower heat to medium
  4. Throw some garlic salt and basil on the oil as it heats up.  Once it starts to snap, add the onions and cook until they start to turn clear.
  5. Add more basil and some oregano as well as the bell peppers and mix thoroughly.
  6. Once the bell peppers begin to become tender, add the zucchini and some salt.  Cook 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the tomatoes and crushed pepper and let cook until the tomatoes start to soften and liquidate.
  8. Add the tomato sauce, mixing until all of the vegetables are covered lightly. Let simmer until sauce is thoroughly heated or vegetables fully cooked.
  9. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with the vegetables. Toss together, turn off flame.  Let cool slightly, garnish with fresh basil, then serve.

This made about 2-3 servings, which was great because now I have leftovers for today. Yay!

  • What about you? What vegetables do you include in pasta dishes?
  • What spices do you use for Italian food?
  • What is your favorite type of tomato sauce? Or, do you like to make your own?
%d bloggers like this: